Mexican food is one of the most popular foods in America. The search for authentic Mexican food is a fun and tough exploration. Once you find the perfect local Mexican restaurant, it can change everything.

As of 2011, there are 38,000 Mexican restaurants all across America, but there are several variations. You can find authentic Mexican food, Tex-Mex, and Mexican-American food that claims to be authentic.

There's nothing wrong with a great fusion of food. After all, the invention of Tex-Mex in the 1940s is great integration with our neighboring country. The cuisine is a fusion that was destined to be since Texas actually touches Mexico.

But the question remains how to tell the difference between authentic Mexican cuisine and the different variations? When you Google " ," How do you spot great authentic Mexican food?

How to spot authentic Mexican food

The fastest and easiest way to tell if you are eating authentic Mexican is from the ingredients. It's not just the ingredients used, however, it's also the way they are used. When eating authentic food you won't be getting lettuce and cheese on your taco, but cilantro and onions.

Foods you won't find:

  • ground beef

  • cheddar cheese

  • black beans

  • flour tortillas

  • hard taco shells

The taste of authentic Mexican food is heavily acidic and can be quite spicy when mixed with salsa. An authentic taco has meat that is seasoned with salt and pepper but marinated in authentic Mexican flavors including chilies.


You can tell you are eating Tex-Mex by a few familiar ingredients. The food includes overstuffed burritos made with white -- not wheat -- flour tortillas and nachos dripping with cheese. You can find a few of the ingredients in the list above.

Other foods to look out for:

  • white flour tortillas (burritos)

  • hard shelled tacos

  • nachos

  • Chile con Carne

American Mexican Food

Mexican-American food may be what you are most used to. These are the American chain restaurants you can find everywhere. During your search for the best Mexican restaurants near me, you should be looking for restaurants with a more traditional approach to their cuisine.

The chain restaurants have foods with Mexican and American ingredients including cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. The food includes tortilla chips and a mix of salsas and dips, with meat seasoned with inspiration from taco packets. Those taco packets sometimes involve a lot of spice and showcase the American idea of the more the better.

Here are some spices you might find in your taco packs at home:

  • salt

  • pepper

  • chili powder

  • garlic powder

  • oregano

Add cumin and onions and you'll have a good base for a delicious homemade taco seasoning.

Best Mexican Restaurants Near Me

No matter your taste for Mexican food one thing most of us can agree on is that Mexican food is delicious. With 42% share of ethnic food sales, Mexican food continues to be the most popular food segment in the United States.

If you love your Taco Bell and Chipotle don't feel bad. Instead, give yourself a chance to enjoy some authentic Mexican food. Try a local place that gives you the feel of Chipotle, but true authentic Mexican taste from a Mexican chef. Let "the best Mexican restaurants near me," include a restaurant that is authentic so you can taste the beauty of real Mexican food!